April 30, 2010
As Executive Board members, I and another woman were asked to attend a meeting of one of the sub-committees. We quickly learned that we had entered a hostile environment and that we were not the first board members to be attacked at these meetings. In a subsequent meeting the Executive Board was told by a committee representative, “We want you to send a Board representative to our next meeting…but don’t send any of those people who’ve already come before.” Obviously the representative was hoping to keep going through Board members until he found one who would take up their cause. I’m reminded of the Parable of the Talents. At harvest time the landowner sent some of his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.” (Matt 21:33-40 NIV) I certainly wouldn’t encourage any of the other Board members to attend those committee meetings…I know what happened to the landowners son.
April 29, 2010
You often don’t discover the motives of a political candidate until after they are elected. Some want to build on the civic foundation already laid, while others want to tear down what has been built and go a different direction. Sadly we sometimes see something similar in the church when new leadership takes over and begins to dismantle what others have built – both spiritually and physically. Paul says to the Corinthians, “This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” (2 Cor 13:10 NIV)
April 28, 2010
I love the picture Paul paints when he tells us, “Therefore put on the full armor of God…” (Eph 6:10-18 NIV) and then he list the items we are to wear. The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of readiness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit. The implication is that you should always be ready and dressed in your armor. I don’t know about you, but in the evenings I like to get out of my clothes, put on my comfys and just relax. Thank goodness for guardian angels.
April 27, 2010
Every once in a while I’ll run in to someone who seems to get much more than they deserve. Maybe they don’t pay a penalty for their actions or they just seem to stumble into good fortune. And then there are those who are born first or into a favored gene pool with a linage of royalty. We all understand Paul’s analogy between God (the Potter) and man (the pot) when he says, “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” I’m not sure that I’ve ever said ‘why did you make me like this?’, but I’ve certainly said ‘why did you make him like that?’ (Romans 9:20b NIV)
April 26, 2010
My Wal-Mart receipt said if I took a simple email survey that I would be entered to win one of five $1000 gift cards. Why not? Somebody’s going to win, so I might as well have my name in the pot. No sooner than hitting send, the phone rang with a representative wanting to enroll me in college. I checked my email and was welcomed by three different businesses thanking me for subscribing to their newsletters. I frantically started to ‘unsubmit’ myself from subscriptions I hadn’t ordered. I think this is the same kind of tactic Satan might use. He dangles one little forbidden fruit in front of us and we bite before we understand all the consequences.
April 23, 2010
Night before last the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm alert for our region. We had a microburst, with wind gusts up to 57 miles an hour, rain in the evening and snow on the ground the following morning. After a few telephone busy signals, it became apparent that a cell tower had been knocked out. Some in our family are totally without phone service and Bill even resorted to looking up phone numbers in his cell and then dialing them the old fashioned way on the landline. Well, I guess God still has His way of stopping babble…
April 22, 2010
I schedule all my activities on a big desk calendar that hangs on the inside of my pantry door. When I look at the coming week I often fire off a prayer, “Lord you’re just going to have help get me through this.” And He does. I recently had to look back on one of the filed calendar pages to see what I did and when it was done. Wow! It was a good reminder for me to see just how busy the Lord has been in coming to my rescue. While my calendar was a good way to jog my memory, Paul uses a different approach with the Philippians. “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” (Phil 3:1 NIV)
April 21, 2010
I’ve been watching the televised eruption of Iceland’s volcano…the name of which no TV reporter can pronounce (see above). It’s easy to summon up all kinds of stories to go along with the visuals of smoke and ash that we are seeing. There’s Sodom and Gomorrah, Mount Sinai, the Abyss and Babylon, just to name a few. It’s interesting to note how in God’s book smoke can in one instance represent something worshipful and in another be a sign of destruction.
April 20, 2010
When I’m driving if want to avoid something in the road the first thing I have to do is focus on an area that is away from that object. Invariably if I focus on the object itself I’ll hit it dead center. I think something similar happens we’re overwhelmed with the worries of life. If we start dwelling on the attacks of Satan and his minions we’re going to run into them every time. Just think how much we’d save a on spiritual realignment if we’d just keep our focus on Jesus.
April 19, 2010
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:1-2 NIV) I’ve always thought this verse applied only to our judging and measuring others. Now I’m not so sure. At one time or another we’ve all encountered believers who seem to preach at others by using themselves as an example. Isn’t it possible that their inflated opinion then becomes the measuring stick? Certainly when our actions do not agree with our words we’re a candidate for being measured by our own self-imposed standard. Who hasn’t heard those in the world say, “And she calls herself a Christian…”?
April 16, 2010
I drove through the Starbucks drive-up, but it was Bill who placed his order from the passenger side of the car. The voice at the other end of the microphone was sunshiny, chatty…and sweetly flirtatious. I pulled around to the service window and the attractive blonde paused with a startled “Oh…” and then she immediately switched to her customer service voice for female customers. Certainly the voice alone can be a tricky and deceptive thing, unless of course you know the voice who calls you, “…his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4b NIV)
April 15, 2010
When Satan attacks believers, we’re to, “…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” (Eph 6:16 ESV) I try to imagine how I might respond to those incoming darts. Would I hunker down behind my shield, or peek over the top to see how many were coming in? I’d like to think I’d push my shield forward to meet the impact. I guess step one is to pick up the shield.
April 14, 2010
Sometimes after sending an email I hover around the computer waiting for a response. It seems like if the message goes out quickly then, the response should come back just as quickly. When I’m really impatient for an answer, I’ve been known to pick-up the phone and call the recipient to tell them I sent them an email. I do something similar to the Lord. Because I know He’s always at the other end of a prayer, He could if He were so inclined, answer my prayer even before I hit send.
April 13, 2010
I serve on a lot of community committees and I was lamenting to a friend that every one of the groups seems to be in turmoil. She good naturedly said, “Well, so what is the common denominator?” I did laugh, but thankfully I can say ‘it’s not me’. These organizations were all in crisis mode before I started serving on their boards and I’m now scrambling to learn the unsavory history. I do think her point is well taken…especially when applied to those of us who serve in the church. Above all other places, the church is the one institution where we should strive to be of one accord. If we are disgruntled in any of our areas of service, it’s possible that we just might be the common denominator. Doing good works doesn’t release us from the obligation of self-examination. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you…” (2 Cor 13:5a NIV)
April 12, 2010
We were having a movie night at my son’s house and it was the grandkids bedtime before the movie was over. A half hour later my daughter-in-law got up from the couch to get a drink of water and caught 4 year-old Lydia in the hallway sneaking a peek at the movie. Confronted by her mom she sprinted to her room and confessed through tears, “Mama, I tried not to be tempted.” Such childlike innocence was lost when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s interesting to think that God might have responded differently if, rather than blaming God, the serpent and one another, the couple would have simply confessed, ‘I tried not to be tempted’.
April 09, 2010
Two blind men called out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Jesus did show mercy by touching their eyes, but He added a disclaimer to their healing, "According to your faith will it be done to you…" (Matt 9:27-29). Thankfully their faith measured up, but what if one of them had weak faith, partial faith or even borrowed faith. Might he have then been half-healed with blurry vision? It’s a good day when Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Oh you of little faith…’
April 08, 2010
I’m going through my closet and getting rid of old clothes. I have to admit that at first it was quite painful. Those clothes represent who I used to be…and who I thought I could become again. Never mind that I couldn’t button the pants or comfortably cross my arms in a jacket. Regardless of the fact that the clothes are two sizes too small and no longer in style, I have a mental and financial investment in them. As believers we’re to, “…have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Col 3:9-10 NIV) Even though our old self no longer fits, I suspect that more than a few of us have some pieces hanging in that closet.
April 07, 2010
An advertisement hook in Saturday’s paper reads, “Do you want to be baptized?” It then goes on to say if you’re a believer, 8 years or older, bring a towel, a change of clothes and come on down. The Bible reference says, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16 NIV) On so many levels I find the ad fascinating. People who excel in disciplining must be cringing at this shotgun approach.
April 06, 2010
After leaving the house for worship services Easter morning, I got whiplash when I drove past a neighbor’s hastily thrown up yard sale sign. Who has a yard sale on Easter Sunday? Taking that though a step further, who goes yard sailing on Easter? Then down the street a liquor store was open at 9:00 am…and customers were entering the store. Jesus told the Pharisees that the coming of the Kingdom of God would be no different than in the days of Lot. “People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-29 NIV) Believers know that the Son of Man could be revealed at any time…maybe even on an Easter Sunday!
April 05, 2010
The Sunday evening news showed a video clip of Easter services at a church in Texas. The stage resembled the ‘Price is Right’ studio, right down to a spinning Plexiglas drum with ticket stubs. During services the church gave away new cars and flat screen TV’s. The image of Jesus clearing the temple jumped to the forefront of my mind. “In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” (John 2:14-15 NIV) On a much smaller scale and closer to home, a local church held Easter egg hunts for the children while their parents attended Easter services. My thoughts turned to Jesus at the age of 12. He had been missing for three days when Mary and Joseph, “…found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:46-47 NIV) Is this what some people think it takes to fill the pews on Easter?
April 02, 2010
April 1st gives our newspaper an opportunity to issue a special edition and provide commentary, all in the name of humor. Barbs are thrown, leaders are roasted and biases overexposed. While some items really are funny and good natured, others are mean-spirited, politically motivated and even offensive. No doubt any protest against some of the articles would be met with, “Oh, it was meant as a joke, it was all in good fun.” Solomon has something to say on the subject, “Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’”(Proverbs 26:18-19 NIV)
April 01, 2010
The last few days I’ve been getting both mail and emails from candidates wanting my support as a delegate. After a little research I learned that my district was short on delegates, so someone nominated me and I was automatically assigned to the position. While I’m honored with the vote of confidence, I now feel caught between a rock and a hard place. As a bipartisan elected official I really don’t want to get into party politics. However, with my name on a list as a delegate, people are going to think I’m a slacker shirking my duties if I don’t show up and participate. I’m attempting to get my name removed from the list, but in the mean time it seems sort of reminiscent of being listed on the church membership roll and yet failing to be an active member.